Preparing for your visit

We get it: Going to the doctor can be scary, whether it’s for a routine immunization or a complex procedure. Getting prepared and knowing what to expect can reduce anxiety and fear — and lead to better outcomes. Here are six tips to get you and your child ready for a visit to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

1. Remember, Children’s is designed for kids
At Children’s we know a lot about kids. We know all the tricks to make visits as stress-free as possible for kids of all ages. Whether we’re “examining” your preschooler’s stuffed animal before we examine her or letting your teen listen to his music while getting his blood drawn, we do everything possible to make you and your child comfortable. Learn more about Children’s Comfort Promise.

2. Tell your child what to expect
Knowing what to expect reduces anxiety and fear — and often leads to better outcomes. The first step in preparing your child is getting informed yourself. If you don’t know the following information, contact the clinic your child is being seen at to find out:

  • What is the purpose of the visit?
  • What tests or treatments are planned, and what do they involve?
  • Who will be working with my child?
  • Will I be able to stay in the room?
  • How long will the visit take?
  • Will my child have to come back for future visits?
  • Will my child have a needle procedure (such as a shot, blood draw, or IV)?

Once you have the facts, talk with your child about what to expect at the visit. See age-appropriate ways to talk to kids — from toddlers to teens — about an upcoming appointment.

3. Know what to bring
Whether you’re coming for short appointment or a hospital stay, bringing familiar items from home can help comfort and distract your child. Letting your child help choose the items to bring along can help them feel more prepared and give them a sense of control. See our “what to bring” checklist to make sure you have everything you need to bring to your visit, from insurance cards to your child’s favorite blanket.

4. Take a tour (surgeries and hospital visits only)
If your child is having a surgery, our pre-surgery tours are recommended. These programs are designed to help patients, parents, siblings, and other family members to learn what to expect before, during, and after the surgery day (including care at home). Choose the location where your child will have surgery to learn more about pre-surgery tours and how to register:

If your child is coming to the hospital for something other than a surgery, call 651-220-6465 to schedule a tour.

5. Pre-register (if applicable)
For some appointments, we ask that you contact your clinic to pre-register before the day of your appointment. The 5-10-minute pre-registration process helps us zip through registration on the day of the appointment, so we can get to what’s important — taking care of your child. Learn more about:

6. Get to your appointment early
To help us complete initial paperwork and concentrate on your child’s care, it’s best to arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. Getting there early ensures you have time to park, find your way and get through the registration process without added stress for you or your child.


We work with children and adolescents to minimize the stress children can feel during hospital stays and other health care visits.


We care about your child’s health and well-being. Children’s Minnesota offers a breadth of services to get the health care your child needs.